9 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

9 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

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Route & dates

9 days in Great Barrier Reef Itinerary

Start: Alice Springs
Fly:  3​h 15​min
Cairns
— 2 nights
Fly:  1​h 30​min
Hamilton Island
— 1 night
ferry:  1​h
Airlie Beach
— 3 nights
Drive + ferry:  4​h 30​min
Magnetic Island
— 1 night
ferry + Drive:  3​h 15​min
Mission Beach
— 1 night
+2
bus + taxi + Fly:  6​h
End: Alice Springs

2
nights
Cairns

Cairns ©
A neat, cosmopolitan city of shaded plazas and laid-back neighborhoods, Cairns serves as a popular base for exploration of the surrounding region and the Great Barrier Reef, as well as a center for watersport activities like surfing or waterskiing.
Bring the kids along to Michaelmas Cay and Palm Cove Beach. Get in touch with nature at Hartley's Crocodile Adventures and Scuba & Snorkeling.

For traveler tips, photos, and tourist information, you can read our Cairns route builder website .

Alice Springs to Cairns is an approximately 3.5-hour flight. You can also drive; or take a bus. Expect a bit warmer evenings in Cairns when traveling from Alice Springs in April, with lows around 26°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 21st (Sun) to allow enough time to travel to Hamilton Island.

Things to do in Cairns

#Wildlife, #Outdoors, #Parks

Side Trip

Palm Cove
Accommodations
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Michaelmas Cay ©
Michaelmas Cay
Scuba & Snorkeling
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures ©
Hartley's Crocodile Adventures

1
night
Hamilton Island

Hamilton Island ©
A trip to Hamilton Island takes you to a car-free destination mostly covered in bushland.
Start off your visit on the 22nd (Mon): play a few rounds at Hamilton Island Golf Club and then stroll through Catseye Beach.

To see ratings, other places to visit, photos, and tourist information, read our Hamilton Island online visit planner .

You can fly from Cairns to Hamilton Island in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and ferry; or do a combination of train, bus, and ferry. When traveling from Cairns in April, plan for little chillier days in Hamilton Island, with highs around 31°C, while nights are about the same with lows around 26°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 22nd (Mon) to allow time to ride a ferry to Airlie Beach.

Things to do in Hamilton Island

#Outdoors, #Beaches, #Parks
Accommodations
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Hamilton Island Golf Club ©
Hamilton Island Golf Club

3
nights
Airlie Beach

Very much a town with an emphasis on the tropical lifestyle, Airlie Beach offers exotic surroundings with palm trees and charming, sandy beaches.
You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Horseshoe Bay and Whitsunday Great Walk. Get in touch with nature at Kayaking & Canoeing and Cumberland Charter Yachts. There's lots more to do: explore the activities along Heart Reef, go for a walk through Bicentennial Walkway, and get some thrills out on the water with a waterskiing or jet-skiing adventure.

To see where to stay, other places to visit, ratings, and other tourist information, you can read our Airlie Beach holiday maker site .

Ride a ferry from Hamilton Island to Airlie Beach in an hour. Alternatively, you can do a combination of ferry and bus. In April, daily temperatures in Airlie Beach can reach 31°C, while at night they dip to 26°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 25th (Thu) to allow time to travel to Magnetic Island.

Things to do in Airlie Beach

#Outdoors, #Tours, #Parks

Side Trip

Horseshoe Bay
Accommodations
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Kayaking & Canoeing
Horseshoe Bay ©
Horseshoe Bay
Heart Reef ©
Heart Reef

1
night
Magnetic Island

Magnetic Island
On the 26th (Fri), tour the water at your own pace with Big Mama Sailing, then enjoy the sand and surf at Geoffrey Bay, and then get to know the fascinating history of Magnetic Island Forts Walk.

To see more things to do, traveler tips, where to stay, and tourist information, go to the Magnetic Island itinerary planning app .

Getting from Airlie Beach to Magnetic Island by combination of car and ferry takes about 4.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and ferry; or do a combination of bus, flight, and ferry. Expect somewhat warmer weather when traveling from Airlie Beach in April: highs in Magnetic Island hover around 35°C, while lows dip to 24°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Fri) to allow enough time to travel to Mission Beach.

Things to do in Magnetic Island

#Outdoors, #Adventure, #Tours
Accommodations
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1
night
Mission Beach

Mission Beach ©
Gracing the coast along the Coral Sea, Mission Beach is a collection of villages that merged into one city.
Kick off your visit on the 27th (Sat): cross one thing off your bucket list with a skydiving experience, take in the exciting artwork at Helen Wiltshire Gallery, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Mission Beach.

To see reviews, more things to do, other places to visit, and more tourist information, refer to the Mission Beach trip itinerary builder app .

You can do a combination of ferry and car from Magnetic Island to Mission Beach in 3.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of ferry and bus; or do a combination of ferry, train, and bus. Finish your sightseeing early on the 27th (Sat) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Mission Beach

#Adventure, #Tours, #Beaches
Accommodations
Get expert advice on where to stay in Mission Beach.
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Mission Beach ©
Mission Beach
Skydiving
Helen Wiltshire Gallery ©
Helen Wiltshire Gallery

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